ORTHODONTIA (OR “BRACES”) and Invisalign

For most adults, straightening their teeth no longer requires wearing hardware and rubber bands. Instead, another CAD/CAM breakthrough helps Dr. Benedict to design a series of (twenty to thirty) clear, plastic “aligners” which, when worn in their prescribed order by you for a couple of weeks or so, will progressively move your teeth to straighten your smile. It’s magic plastic with a determined memory. It takes about as long as traditional “braces” but compare 20-30 clear, plastic aligners (per arch) with traditional braces:

Of course, if you are not so much interested in the dental health benefits of improved, healthy arches and would rather go for a more attractive smile in the shortest time possible, then crowns and veneers can be employed for a relatively rapid cosmetic change. Dentists are not all that crazy for using crowns and veneers for cosmetic changes because most dentists love teeth and crowns and veneers require sacrificing some tooth so that the crown or veneer will adhere correctly. For example, when you decide on a veneer, the entire front surface of the tooth enamel is permanently removed. Then the veneer, a thin piece of specially-shaped porcelain or plastic, is glued over the front of your tooth. This is an irreversible procedure, since the tooth enamel is removed to accommodate the veneer. A crown preparation removes even more of the tooth.

Another problem with veneers is that they are not a permanent solution. They can chip or break, requiring you to replace them on an individual basis, which can get pricey. Even if they don’t chip or break, over time they will come off. Veneers tend to last about 5 to 10 years, depending on the quality of the veneers purchased. Since your tooth enamel has been removed, most patients have no choice but to replace their veneers, incurring the same high costs every time they have to get a new set. Crowns last much longer, in fact, they should last the rest of your life if you take good care of your gums but they are more expensive.

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